From major department stores on Fifth Avenue to designer boutiques in Soho, Manhattan has long been recognized as one of the world’s most exclusive shopping hotspots.
But in recent years, America’s fashion capital has been marred by back-to-back store closures as skyrocketing rents and the rise of e-commerce increasingly complicate business for brick-and-mortar veterans. This week alone, Tommy Hilfiger became the latest retail casualty in New York’s prime shopping neighborhood. Here are some of the notable storefronts that have gone dark in the upscale borough.
Tommy Hilfiger on Monday said that it would shutter its 22,000-square-foot global flagship at 681 Fifth Ave. The four-level store, which opened a decade ago, was designed by Callison Architects in collaboration with the Hilfiger creative team, heavily exhibiting the brand’s signature American aesthetic. The company is also closing its 9,000-square-foot Collins Avenue outpost in Miami on April 28 — ending the lifespans of the only two full-price Tommy Hilfiger stores in North America. It still has more than 200 outlets and upwards of 1,500 full-price stores around the world.
Only a month after creative chief Raf Simons’ departure in December, fellow PVH Corp. brand Calvin Klein unveiled plans to cut staff and close its historic Manhattan flagship at 654 Madison Ave. It debuted on the famed shopping street in 1995, boasting a floor-to-ceiling installation by artist Sterling Ruby that brought attention to the designer label’s high-street 205W39NYC collection. The space was renovated in 2017 and officially shutters in the spring.
Saks Fifth Avenue
A little more than two years after its launch in downtown Manhattan, Saks Fifth Avenue said in December that it would be closing its women’s store at 225 Liberty St. The Brookfield Place boutique, which spanned three levels and 86,000 square feet of real estate, shut down on Jan. 5. Last February, the luxury retailer opened its men’s store that covered 16,750 square feet on a single floor at the neighboring 250 Vesey St. Although it wasn’t technically considered a flagship, the women’s store marked Saks’ second in New York City.
On Jan. 20, Gap shut down its store at 680 Fifth Ave. Once its flagship, the retailer had resided in the Buchmann family-owned building since 1997. The move comes a month after the clothing and accessories business said it was considering shuttering hundreds of its namesake locations “thoughtfully and aggressively” to focus on better-performing stores. (The retailer’s current flagship is located at Times Square and opened in 2017.)
Henri Bendel made headlines in September following parent company L Brands’ announcement that it was shutting down the legacy brand’s website and 23 locations come January. The company debuted its shop in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1895 and eventually expanded into its Fifth Avenue flagship in 1913. That year, it became the first to carry Coco Chanel in the U.S., and in the 1960s, it employed Andy Warhol as an in-house illustrator. In its heyday, Henri Bendel — reputed for its high-end handbags, footwear and other accessories — was a New York retailer that belonged to the ranks of merchants like Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Lord & Taylor
Last year, Lord & Taylor revealed that it would hand over its 11-story flagship building on 38th Street to co-working company WeWork, which bought out the 650,000-square-foot landmark for $850 million in 2017. Founded in 1826 on the Lower East Side, the retailer moved into the space that occupies an entire Manhattan block on Fifth Avenue in 1914, and it officially closed its doors on Jan. 2. Additionally, parent company Hudson’s Bay Co. last fall said that it would cut Lord & Taylor’s store count by up to 10 — about a fifth of its total — as the department store chain puts more emphasis on its digital offerings, even inking a partnership with Walmart.com.
After two years in business, Ralph Lauren’s Polo flagship closed at 711 Fifth Ave. in April 2017 as part of a company restructuring plan. It became one of the first major brands to announce that it was shuttering the doors to its New York City flagship. The store’s merchandise was then integrated into Ralph Lauren’s other New York City locations, as operations continued at seven stores as well as its Polo Bar Restaurant.
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